JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - It's the most wonderful time of the year, and the busiest, too, at least for the U.S. Postal Service.
Monday is the day the USPS will process the most mail in a single day -- more than 600 million pieces of mail across the country.
It's more than just the post office that's busy. FedEx and UPS stores are also experiencing the increase.
The UPS store downtown was packed full of customers Monday, all trying to send out their gifts in time for Christmas Day.
Thursday will be the busiest for FedEx and UPS.
In all, nearly 15 billion pieces of mail alone are delivered between Thanksgiving and New Year's Eve.
FedEx is expected to move more than 20 million packages. UPS employees are working around the clock to deliver about 300 packages per second.
Terry Wilkins, who owns the UPS store downtown, said people tend to come around their work schedules.
"Especially early in the morning, and then around lunch time it can get a little crazy," Wilkins said.
One sender said it gets so busy and expensive she may skip out next year.
"I am going to gift cards from now on when I'm mailing long distance because the cost of shipping was about $40, and I know you can add that to the cost of the gift card and they can get what they want," said Michell Long.
Every few minutes a new customer walked in the store downtown, and it wasn't even peak time. Wilkins said to send a gift on time without paying the big fees of overnighting a package, people need to do it as soon as possible.
"Probably after tomorrow I would not send it ground outside the southern states at all," Long said.
Depending on where you need to ship an item, the Christmas cutoff dates for UPS run Dec. 20-24.
Some important deadlines to know for USPS are as follows:
- Friday, Dec. 20: Deadline for sending first-class mail
- Saturday, Dec. 21: Deadline for priority mail
- Monday, Dec. 23: Deadline for sending priority mail express
But some senders say if you miss the deadline, it's better late than never.
"No, she knows if it gets there it gets there whenever," Stephanie Smith said.
Local post offices, UPS and FedEx locations all have different hours of operation, so check online before you try to send gifts. Some are open Christmas Eve, while others are not.
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